Baby’s cries disrupts court process, leading to mothers’ release

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Abigael Njeri Kamau when she was arraigned at a Kiambu court yesterday charged with selling two bottles of alcohol. She was released by Kiambu Senior Resident Magistrate Ms. Stella Atambo after her baby uncontrollably cried making court proceedings impossible.
Photo by Lydia Shiloya 

Cries of a toddler Monday disrupted a Kiambu court proceeding immediately its mother was arraigned for selling alcohol over the weekend in Banana location of Kiambaa sub-county.  

            The one-and-a-half-year-old girl appeared to have been disturbed by the unfamiliar faces in the courtroom and as the mother took to the dock, the baby cried uncontrollably forcing the magistrate to intervene by ordering the baby to be taken out.

            Abigael Njeri Kamau had been charged before Kiambu Senior Resident Magistrate Ms. Stella Atambo that on July 3, 2020 at banana area, she was found unlawfully hawking two bottles of Triple Ace alcohol without a license.

            The accused who also appeared concerned and even sought the court’s permission to breastfeed the baby pleaded guilty. “Your honour naweza kumnyonyesha ndio anyamaze (may I breastfeed to calm it down)? She pleaded with the magistrate who quickly signaled approval.

            As the drama unveiled in court, the magistrate wondered aloud, “By the way, where is the officer who brought this accused person to court with the baby? Which police station are you from? The officer moved near the accused and said he was from Karuri police station.

            She went on to interrogate him, wondering why he could not give her a free bond considering the current pandemic when everyone was hiding their children inside their houses. “Could you not think of giving this mother a free bond and then instruct her to appear in court today because she has a tiny baby? Now see how the baby is crying here when other children are comfortable in their homes”

            The Magistrate thundered after the arresting officer accepted that issuance of a free bond was an option: “Lets us just try to give justice a human face as we cannot treat everybody the same way just because you are arresting and intent on arraigning people in court.”

           The accused said she had opted to sell the alcohol so that she could make some money to buy food for her children after she was laid off following the coronavirus outbreak. “My boss laid me off from my job since she too had been laid off and so I had to look for some business to fend for my children,” she pleaded with the court for leniency saying from the time she was arrested on Friday, she had learnt a lesson and would not repeat

            On why she did not leave the baby back home when she was arrested, she said the other child is barely four years and could therefore not be able to take care of the baby. The magistrate released her but warned her not to repeat the offence. You are a woman and you can multi-task. Look for some genuine business that will enable you to put food on the table for your children.

She thanked the court and hurriedly left the dock a free woman.